Shaima Dallali ‘considering all available legal remedies’ after being sacked as NUS president

Dallali was dismissed this week following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism

After being sacked this week following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism, the former NUS president has said she is “considering all available legal remedies” following her dismissal from the role.

Shaima Dallali was sacked just days ago, after the NUS launched an investigation into claims of antisemitism within its own movement back in April this year. Some of the allegations were thought to be against Dallali, who was the president-elect at the time, over historical social media posts. She was elected to lead the NUS from July for a two-year term, after being elected at the national conference in March this year.

It has since emerged that complaints about Dallali’s alleged behaviour was part of a wider investigation within the NUS and she was suspended earlier this year as president pending the outcome of the investigation. However the investigation has since concluded and the result was the NUS’ decision to remove Dallali from her position as NUS president. Dallali may be able to appeal against the decision.

Now in a statement on her behalf from her lawyers posted on Twitter yesterday, Dallali has said she is “considering all available legal remedies” and says she was not informed of the decision or provided with the written reasons for her dismissal, before it being published by national news outlets.

In the statement, Dallali also says she “rejects the findings of the disciplinary panel”  in the same way she had rejected the allegations about her that were investigated. She says she has already apologised for an “inappropriate tweet” she published in 2012 – a decade before her election as president – and that she “had also made clear her position that the other tweets for which she had been criticised (and all of which pre-dated her election to her NUS role) were not antisemitic”.

She has previously denied being antisemitic and has also said she had been misrepresented since her election as president. In an interview with the Guardian in April this year, Dallali said she had already apologised unreservedly for the tweet saying: “I’m not the same person I was. I have developed my political language to talk about Palestine and Israel. I stand by that apology.” She added it was “absolutely not true” that she was hateful to the Jewish community and that her “door has always been open to all students regardless of who they are.”

In the statement following her dismissal, Dallali has said she considers the NUS process as “discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people”.

During the investigation, Dallali says she had received a lot of online abuse. In a tweet from around a month ago, Dallali wrote: “I always knew it would be difficult being a Black, Muslim woman in the public eye but the racist and Islamophobic abuse I have been subjected to and death threats I have received since becoming NUS president are not ok.”

A statement on behalf of Dallali also said: “By way of background, the NUS’s investigation, and the ensuing disciplinary process, were initiated by the NUS after they received an investigation report by a senior lawyer in the context of their investigation into antisemitism within the NUS. Ms Dallali fully engaged with both the lawyer’s and the NUS’s investigation processes, and with the disciplinary process that ensued.”

It ended with: “Both before and during her tenure as President, Ms Dallali has repeatedly made clear her opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism, while continuing to campaign to denounce the plight of the Palestinian people.”

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the NUS said: “Following the independent KC-led investigation into allegations of antisemitism, specifically into the then President Elect under the NUS Code of Conduct, an independent panel has found that significant breaches of NUS’ policies have taken place. As per this finding, we have terminated the President’s contract. The decision of the panel may be subject to an appeal. In strict accordance with rules around employees and confidentiality, we will not be sharing any further details on the investigation into the President. We can assure any interested parties that this process has been incredibly robust and that we can and must trust in the outcome.

“We know that there will be strong feelings around this issue so we urge people to respect this process and to refrain from taking part in or perpetuating any abuse, particularly online, towards anyone involved in this matter. Chloe Field, VP of Higher Education will step up as acting chair of the NUS UK Board and will focus on helping students through the cost-of-living crisis. We continue to work closely with the Union of Jewish Students on the wider investigation into the allegations about NUS and are exploring actions that NUS can take in the near future to build trust and confidence with Jewish students.”

Chloe Field, NUS VP who has now replaced Dallali, said: “As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, I will continue to hold the government to account and push for greater support for students. As students and apprentices reach breaking point, at NUS we have developed a series of clear recommendations for the government and education institutions to ease the burden on students, and I look forward to championing them during my time at NUS.

“I am proud to fight on behalf of all of our students and therefore I am determined to work together with the Union of Jewish Students to re-establish trust in our organisation and tackle some of the biggest issues facing students right now.”

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